When the coast supermarket chain is beloved Wegman opens in Brooklyn later this month, it will bring a lot more than just another grocery store to the neighborhood. Wegmans will be housed in a 74,000-square-foot space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard – which includes a full-service bar as well as several restaurant concepts, ranging from made-to-order salads and sushi bar to gourmet burgers and pizza.
Executive chef Stephen De Lucia explains to Eater that Wegmans is proud to offer a wide variety of “restaurant foods” to its customers, with the goal of becoming a destination for shoppers and diners. The two-level store will be equipped with several take-out food counters on the ground floor and a full-service bar and seating on the mezzanine level.
De Lucia says he’s most excited about the sushi bar, which will offer 28 different roll options. These will be available in a refrigerated crate like most grocery stores, although customers can also order custom rolls to be made on site. The sushi counter will also sell poke bowls, including one with King New Zealand salmon and another with beetroot and macadamia.
Wegmans will also have a pizza station, where a brick-hearth rotary oven can bake a custom pie in 90 seconds. His pizza recipe is inspired by the Italian restaurant Wegmans Amore in Rochester, and despite the quick cooking, the dough, made with imported Italian flour and olive oil, is fermented 48 hours in advance. Diners can choose from pies like the one with prosciutto, arugula, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano, or make their own.
There’s also a burger bar that also cooks lobster rolls, crab cakes, fried chicken sandwiches, and fries. In keeping with the health trend seen across the market, a Mediterranean-style Impossible Burger with lemon caper aioli and roasted tomatoes will be available at the burger bar, as will the cauliflower crust at the pizzeria. De Lucia says the store wants to offer “so many options” for all the “different diversity of opinions and dietary needs.”
A salad bar, a self-service buffet and a coffee shop round off the dining options. Everything can be taken or eaten at the 100-seat mezzanine level of the supermarket, where the full-service bar is also located. “If we see a guest eating a slice of pizza or a sushi roll, our cocktail servers will be trained to pair it with wine or sake,” says De Lucia.
The bar is unique to Brooklyn and is inspired by Wegmans Next Door Bar and Grill in Rochester, although the menu was created with Brooklyn in mind. Beers will be sourced from local breweries like Threes Brewing, Grimm and Interboro, and the supermarket is also working with Brooklyn Brewery and Sixpoint to create a special beer for opening day. The selection of spirits will follow, and there will also be kombucha on tap.
The grocer is also serious about where his ingredients come from, sourcing from like-minded sustainable distributors and producers for his Brooklyn location, says De Lucia, who joined Wegmans in 2017 after working with Ruth’s Chris. Steak House. The store works with a local non-profit organization Rethink, which uses unused food from grocery stores to prepare meals for those in need.
While New York City has no shortage of grocery stores with prepared foods, Wegmans’ entry has always Wegmaniacs – his loyal followers – excited. This is because the grocer is known for their range of take out food and competitive prices. It is a privately owned, Rochester-based family chain with 98 stores in the eastern United States and has consistently been rated one of the best grocery stores in buyer surveys.
The store will open on October 27 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has also attracted an outpost from Russ & Daughters, the Brooklyn Roasting Company and the Kings County Distillery.